A ban on Union Flags being displayed in taxis and private hire vehicles in Shropshire will be lifted following changes to licensing rules.

A vote held at Shropshire Council’s Strategic Licensing Committee this morning (January 11) approved changes which will allow taxi drivers in the county to display one Union Flag on their vehicle, provided it meets the authority’s size and placing requirements.

Earlier this year, a taxi driver from Market Drayton was told to remove a large cross of St George from his vehicle because it broke the county’s licensing rules, which prohibited the display of national flags on taxis and private hire vehicles.

A motion to approve the changes was carried at the committee, with one vote against and one abstention.

Green Party councillor for Oswestry West, Mike Isherwood, had argued against the proposals, calling them “needlessly divisive.”


“I find it unfair, discriminatory and I’m surprised it would even be legal,” he told the meeting.

“I think they key word is neutrality – we should have a neutral policy on this and that’s best achieved with the [current] policy… which has gone through the proper consultation process.

“It’s needlessly divisive to introduce flags to taxis especially if its only privileged to one nation’s flag.”

Councillor Isherwood proposed an amendment to a motion to support the changes, saying the council should allow flags of other nations to be flown, which was not seconded.

A report from Shropshire Council’s head of consumer protection Frances Darling noted that the relaxing of rules around displaying of the Union Flag could leave customers “concerned for their safety”.

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“It should also be acknowledged that potential passengers may be concerned for their own safety should they find that a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle they intend to hire is displaying the Union Flag. This is due to its known appropriation by those with nationalist and right-wing sentiments,” she said.

But speaking in support of the motion, Conservative councillor Garry Burchett said the changes would help to “reclaim” the Union Flag from far right elements.

“The union flag has been stolen and we need to make a huge effort to publicise it as much as we can,” he said.

“I understand what Cllr Isherwood is saying but I think the report goes a small way toward addressing that problem and I propose that we accept the report.”